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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words

Meek, Meekness

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A — 1: πραΰς
(Strong's #4239 — Adjective — praus or praos — prah-ooce' )

denotes "gentle, mild, meek;" for its significance see the corresponding noun, below, B. Christ uses it of His own disposition, Matthew 11:29 ; He gives it in the third of His Beatitudes, Matthew 5:5 ; it is said of Him as the King Messiah, Matthew 21:5 , from Zechariah 9:9 ; it is an adornment of the Christian profession, 1 Peter 3:4 . Cp. epios, "gentle, of a soothing disposition," 1 Thessalonians 2:7 ; 2 Timothy 2:24 .

B — 1: πραΰτης
(Strong's #4240 — Noun Feminine — prautes | praotes — prah-oo'-tace )

an eariler form, denotes "meekness." In its use in Scripture, in which it has a fuller, deeper significance than in nonscriptural Greek writings, it consists not in a person's "outward behaviour only; nor yet in his relations to his fellow-men; as little in his mere natural disposition. Rather it is an inwrought grace of the soul; and the exercises of it are first and chiefly towards God. It is that temper of spirit in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting; it is closely linked with the word tapeinophrosune [humility], and follows directly upon it, Ephesians 4:2 ; Colossians 3:12 ; cp. the adjectives in the Sept. of Zephaniah 3:12 , "meek and lowly;" ... it is only the humble heart which is also the meek, and which, as such, does not fight against God and more or less struggle and contend with Him. This meekness, however, being first of all a meekness before God, is also such in the face of men, even of evil men, out of a sense that these, with the insults and injuries which they may inflict, are permitted and employed by Him for the chastening and purifying of His elect" (Trench, Syn. xlii). In Galatians 5:23 it is associated with enkrateia, "self-control."

The meaning of prautes "is not readily expressed in English, for the terms meekness, mildness, commonly used, suggest weakness and pusillanimity to a greater or less extent, whereas prautes does nothing of the kind. Nevertheless, it is difficult to find a rendering less open to objection than 'meekness'; 'gentleness' has been suggested, but as prautes describes a condition of mind and heart, and as 'gentleness' is appropriate rather to actions, this word is no better than that used in both English Versions. It must be clearly understood, therefore, that the meekness manifested by the Lord and commended to the believer is the fruit of power. The common assumption is that when a man is meek it is because he cannot help himself; but the Lord was 'meek' because he had the infinite resources of God at His command. Described negatively, meekness is the opposite to self-assertiveness and self-interest; it is equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down, simply because it is not occupied with self at all.

"In 2 Corinthians 10:1 the Apostle appeals to the 'meekness ... of Christ.' Christians are charged to show 'all meekness toward all men,' Titus 3:2 , for meekness becomes 'God's elect,' Colossians 3:12 . To this virtue the 'man of God' is urged; he is to 'follow after meekness' for his own sake, 1 Timothy 6:11 (the best texts have No. 2 here, however), and in his service, and more especially in his dealings with the 'ignorant and erring,' he is to exhibit 'a spirit of meekness,' 1 Corinthians 4:21 ; Galatians 6:1 ; even 'they that oppose themselves' are to be corrected in meekness, 2 Timothy 2:25 . James exhorts his 'beloved brethren' to 'receive with the meekness the implanted word,' 1:21. Peter enjoins 'meekness' in setting forth the grounds of the Christian hope, 3:15." * [* From Notes on Galatians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 294,295.]

B — 2: πραότης
(Strong's #4236 — Noun Feminine — praupathia — prah-ot'-ace )

"a meek disposition, meekness" (praus, "meek," pascho, "to suffer"), is found in the best texts in 1 Timothy 6:11 .

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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Meek, Meekness'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words. 1940.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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